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Emberiza flaviventris (Golden-breasted bunting) 

Rooirugstreepkoppie [Afrikaans]; Intsasa [Xhosa]; umNdweza (also applied to Cape bunting) [Zulu]; Rhakweni, Rhanciyoni [Tsonga]; Goudborstgors, Acacia-gors [Dutch]; Bruant à poitrine dorée [French]; Gelbbauchammer [German]; Escrevedeira-de-peito-dourado [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Fringillidae

Emberiza flaviventris (Golden-breasted bunting)  Emberiza flaviventris (Golden-breasted bunting)

Golden-breasted bunting. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Golden-breasted bunting, Mkhuze Game Park, South Africa. [photo Peet van Schalkwyk ©, see also scienceanimations.com]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in Sub-Saharan Africa from southern Mali to Sudan south through Uganda, Tanzania, southern DRC, Angola and Zambia to southern Africa. Here it is fairly common across Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, northern Namibia and much of South Africa largely excluding the Western Cape, Northern Cape and the Free State. It generally prefers savanna, especially Acacia, Burkea africana (Burkea) and Colosphermum mopane (Mopane) woodland, as well as dry woodland along dry rivers, tall shrubland on rocky ground, edges of croplands, alien plantations and gardens.

Distribution of Golden-breasted bunting in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

Nestlings have been recorded as prey of Lanius collaris (Common fiscal).

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Diderick cuckoo and Jacobin cuckoo.

Movements and migrations

Resident but sometimes locally nomadic in the dry season.


It mainly eats seeds, flower buds and insects, foraging on the ground and in the foliage of small trees and shrubs. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Monogamous solitary nester, building an untidy cup of grass stems, tendrils, leaf petioles and other pliable plant material (see images below), lined with fine rootlets and hair. It is typically placed on a horizontal fork of a bush or tree, such as an Acacia or fingerleaf (Vitex).
Emberiza flaviventris (Golden-breasted bunting) Emberiza flaviventris (Golden-breasted bunting) 

Golden-breasted bunting at its nest, Sericea farm, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

Golden-breasted bunting on nest. [photo Peter Steyn ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from September-April, peaking from October-December.
  • It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 12-13 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents on a diet of insects and seeds, leaving the nest after about 13-17 days.


Not threatened, although it is regularly captured illegally for the cage bird trade.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.